My Five Beauty Obsessions: Nora Zelevansky

This Brooklyn-based beauty writer has a brand-new novel and a few (hundred) favorite products. She shared her summer obsessions with us.

Nora ZelevanskyAs a self-identified “beauty geek,” Nora Zelevansky knows a thing or two about facial oils and shea butters. This lifestyle journalist has gone four weeks without a television, but never a day without lip balm.

Her beauty creds include articles in Elle, Vanity Fair, and—and a new novel called Semi-Charmed Life that debuts today.

It weaves beauty tips and lip gloss mania into the trials and tribulations of an Upper West Side naif-turned-socialite ghostwriter. (Beach reading, anyone?)

So we knew we needed to find out what beauty products the Brooklyn writer is personally loving and toting around with her this summer. Here’s what she said:

natural nail polish NailEzee 1. NailEZEE Key Lime Pie ($10)
I’m not someone with a signature nail color; I like to play around. But I’m also freaked out by the toxins in so many polishes. I recently discovered NailEZEE lacquers, a company run by three sisters (girl power!) whose father is an industry veteran. The polishes are big 3-free and are infused with keratin and biotin to moisturize, AND they last. My favorite combination is the pistachio ice cream-colored Key Lime Pie on all but my ring-fingers, which get painted with glittery bronze Lucky Penny.

2. Tata Harper’s Restorative Eye Cream ($90)
The fact that Tata Harper makes all her products on her farm makes me not only want to use her stuff, but want to live her life for a few days: It must be amazing! I tend to have issues with eye creams because the truly active variety can be irritating and the other is ineffective. Hers is designed to fight wrinkles and puffiness with eyebright flower and arnica, but it also includes hydrators and soothers like calendula and carrot seed oil. I use it twice a day.

natural hair-care product

3. Free Your Mane Reviving Spray ($15)
So often the truly good natural lines are owned by people who are driven by positive intentions. That’s the case with Free Your Mane, which is a paraben-free hair-care brand started with the creator’s children in mind (though it’s for adults, too). I like the Reviving Spray, which uses their staple ingredient African baobab seed oil, plus argan oil and antioxidant pomegranate seed oil to moisturize. When I spray it on my hair to reduce fly-aways or to bring it back to life after sleep or a long day, it doesn’t feel greasy and it doesn’t cause breakouts when my hair grazes my face.

4. Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Neroli Water ($35)
I love this aromatherapy mist for hot summer days or during plane travel. I’ll spritz it on my face and neck to keep moist (but not oily). It also feels refreshing and the bitter orange blossoms smell almost tea-like. I sometimes use it as a light fragrance. I really just want to bathe in it!

natural lip balm5. The Lip Slip By Sara Happ ($24)
If I had to live with only one cosmetic product on a desert island (or wherever really) for the rest of eternity, it would be lip balm. My latest obsession is The Lip Slip, made with sweet almond, jojoba, and macadamia nut oils. It’s not sticky, it’s a lovely sheer ballet-slipper pink, and it stays on. In fact, I tend to put it on before bed and I can often still feel the hydration in the morning. (Also, Happ makes natural sugar-based lip scrubs to exfoliate and the products together are fantastic.)

Nora Zelevansky Semi-Charmed LifeBeauty Bonus: At night before bed, I use Jason Naturals Pure Vitamin E Oil ($8) in addition to or even in place of eye cream. I started this ritual after an aesthetician I love told me that her elderly client with almost no eye wrinkles said that’s what she did. —Melisse Gelula

For more information and for book reading events next week for Semi-Charmed Life, visit

Photo: Nora Zelevansky (Photo: Andrew Weiner)

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